Runny noses, constant colds, recurrent flus, gastro – most parents think these conditions are ‘normal’ or ‘common’ with children in day care or school. But not all children are getting sick. Not all children have runny noses. Not all children will contract that gastro bug.
As a Chiropractor, I see children of all ages coming in with recurrent infections and depleted immune systems that catch every bug that crosses their path.
But after ten years in practice, I have seen firsthand that a great immune system is not all about great genes. I also know how many powerful tools there are available to parents to easily boost their child’s immune system safely and effectively.
We don’t just have to accept our child’s current state of health. We can actually take measures to boost their defences, speed healing, and help them to gain a greater level of wellness.
- Chiropractic care
Chiropractic care stimulates the nervous system to work at its best. This controls the function of all systems of your body, including the immune system. This is the ‘electricity’ of the body. It is smart practice to deliver excellent nutrition, or ‘fuel’, to our body, but without the electricity, the fuel tends to not make an impact
- It starts with a great diet
Children’s immune systems can take a hit if they’re constantly being bombarded with food intolerances, additives, preservatives, and sugar. When a child has a food allergy, their digestion suffers, inflammation is ramped up, which makes fending off viruses and bacteria much more difficult. It’s a similar story when a child takes in more additives and preservatives than her body can deal with. Sugar has been shown in many clinical trials to actually suppress immunity. To keep kids well, limit their overall intake of additives, sugar, and find out which foods are allergens. Focus on plenty of fresh veggies, whole fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, eggs, and meat.
- Maintain your child’ probiotics
Probiotics are the friendly helpful bacteria that occur in our guts. They protect our digestive tracts, help us to digest food, assist in toxin clearance, and shield us from invading bacteria and viruses. When this bacterial balance becomes disrupted in children, we can see changes in a child’s ability to fend off infections.
- Help calm their stress and anxiety
In today’s fast-paced world, parents are overstressed, children are over-scheduled, and everyone suffers. Children’s bodies have the same response to stress that adults’ do — their cortisol and adrenaline rises. When this elevation in stress hormones is sustained, their immune systems’ response is lowered.
It’s important for children to have lots of down time, time for creative play, and simply times of rest. Busy bodies need to take a break every now and then for their immune systems to thrive.
- Make sure they’re getting enough good sleep
Most children are not getting the required amount of sleep. Depending on age, children need between ten and 14 hours of sleep per day. And it’s the quality of sleep that matters most. For proper secretion of melatonin (our sleep hormone), children need to sleep in the dark, without a night light. Since electromagnetic frequency has also been shown to affect sleep quality, make sure your child’s room is unplugged.
- Remember that fever helps fight infection
Although many parents panic at the first sign of a rise in temperature on the thermometer, it’s important to recognize that fever is only a sign of and not an illness itself. Fever is your child’s body’s response to an infection and without it, their body isn’t as effective at fighting the illness. The truth is your child’s immune systems works better at a high temperature too, so they can get better quickly. Please note that while I do encourage fevers, on rare occasions they are too high and prolonged, which may require a GP consultation
- Supplements, homeopathics and herbs can work wonders
The best supplements to boost a child’s immune system are Zinc, Vitamin C and probiotics. Vitamin D has also been shown recently to have a positive effect on the immune system, so make sure we are all getting our tummies and back in the sun for at least 10 mins/day. The herbs elderberry and astragalus are my favourites for recurrent respiratory tract infections. For allergies, Formula 5, fish oil, vitamin C, and nettles work wonders. Always remember we have to be careful with the use of herbs with children, but homeopathics are an excellent source of immune stimulation for younger children especially.
Dr. Barry Smith
B.Sc. (Chiro), B.Chiro(Hons).
DOCTOR OF CHIROPRACTIC